There are many articles called 10 signs you need to get organized available on the Internet. Yet, I find that many people I know don't have a clue, what organized means, why they should bother and where to start. While pondering over the following list, consider whether you could benefit from establishing some sort of an organizing system or improving the existing one.
1. You frequently can't find things
Just imagine that you would be able to find anything in your home or a work place withing 30 seconds. Anything from a passport to the right size of a screw driver or a spare bulb. Or that you could explain a random person who never visited your home where a particular thing is. Trust me, it's possible.
2. There are piles of stuff in your living space or at work
Piles of stuff are kind of happening on their own. Physicists call this entropy. Systems naturally gradually move towards the maximum entropy = disorder. To create and order requires an intelligent being and energy. Chaos creates itself, order takes an effort.
3. Your computer desktop overflows and you have twenty tabs open in your browser
Clearing your virtual space is just as important as the physical one. The 30 seconds rule still applies. Computers often get cluttered even faster than your home and finding stuff can get tricky unless you have a proper filing system in place.
More and more we live our lives in cyberspace. The aim of technology used to be to create order and make life easier. Nowadays, it feels as if the technology takes over our lives. Not many people actually sit down and establish the ground rules how to use the computer or social media so that it's helpful rather than harmful.
4. You go three times to the supermarket and still forget to buy milk
Very often we have an easy task to do, like buy milk next time you go shopping. Why is it that we can forget such a simple thing?
The obvious answer is, "My memory is bad". This is rarely true, though. In fact, we posses several types of memory. Buying milk is hardly very important long term, therefore our brain makes a decision to store it in the short-term memory. You need to remember it only till you get the milk and then it gets deleted. "But it got deleted before I made it to the supermarket because I forgot the milk!" The thing is, our short-term memory can only store a limited number of things, for most people it means 5 – 7. That means that the "remember to buy milk" item didn't get deleted, it got overwritten by new items stored in a short-term memory. During one day you might need to store dozens or things in your short-term memory from "make a cup of coffee after checking your email" (that's already to items – make coffee, check emails) to "pick up children from school at three".
What is the solution? Free your short-term memory by not storing items in it but in a simple organizing system.
5. You forget to go to meetings or miss appointments
Thanks to the availability of mobile devices, most doctors, dentists, hairdressers or just about anyone who provides a service send people reminders of their appointments. And still people miss them. Isn't it sad that we expect that someone else will keep an eye on us like when we were children?
We live in a society where not being responsible for yourself seem to be somehow acceptable. People living in tribes still have rituals for boys becoming man to mark an exact time when one needs to start being responsible for oneself. There's nothing like it in our modern society. We accept not remembering appointments as well as disrespect towards people who made the appointments with because they want a business so they have to cope with it.
6. There are things you keep planning to do sometimes soon – but they never seem to happen
We all want to do and achieve many things in our busy lives. Most of us have a long list of things that we plan to do but we never start working on any of them. Why is it? It only makes one feel frustrated or feel useless. We are creating in finding excuses for not doing things but deep down the frustration only grow.
This state of mind is called procrastination. We want something but either it seems to difficult, out of reach or we don't know how to do it or where to even start. Procrastination can be overcome by using correct techniques and getting organized.
7. You say that you don't have time to get organized
It's a common paradox, that people who would benefit the most out of getting organized, usually say, that they don't have time to get organized. There is a vast gap between being busy and being productive. The busyness suggests that the time is not spent productively.
Busyness is either a lack of organization, prioritization or an addiction. For example, doing things twice because you don't remember that you did it already a few weeks ago or wasting time looking for things or passwords is a matter of organization. Reluctance to delegate tasks or choosing to do less important tasks over more important is a matter of prioritization.
Modern society has this third case of busyness as an addiction. If you keep yourself busy and occupied all the time, you don't hear this voice deep inside you telling you that your life feels somehow empty and that there's something missing. Something like peace, love, harmony and spiritual awakening.
8. You feel overwhelmed
Feeling overwhelmed is worse than frustration, impatience and irritation on Abraham-Hicks' emotional scale. English Collins Dictionary says:
If you are overwhelmed by a feeling or event, it affects you very strongly, and you do not know how to deal with it. Keeping a organizing system can either prevent these feelings from occurring or in the moment of despair, you can go to your system as to a trusted friend. Very often this simple act is enough to start thinking clearly again and do the most important thing rather than emerging in negative emotional states and not taking any action at all.
9. You can't concentrate
Lack of concentration seems to be a widespread modern disorder. In many cases people don't even realize this is happening because they either never experienced a state of complete focus or they never paid any attention to it.
In the past, lack of stimuli lead to mental underdevelopment. Nowadays, there is an opposite extreme. Our brains are bombarded with thousands of stimuli a second and the lack of attention is simply caused by not being able to choose which of them is the most important at that particular moment. Humans are not able to divide their focus so it quickly switches from stimulus to stimulus, usually taking on the most bright or loud one like adverts, screen pop-ups, mobile phone alerts or even a pile of clutter on your desk. This is happening consciously or subconsciously.
One way to experience more focus or clarity is simply decluttering both, your space and your mind.
10. You don't know what to do and the world seems black
Going through some soft of a crisis during various life stages is unavoidable. Crisis is a complicated unpleasant emotional state that happens when we try to resist a change that is difficult to cope with. We don't know what to do or why to get up from bed in the morning. We feel sorry for ourselves and tend to neglect our health and environment. A simple ritual of getting organized might work wonders. With clearing and harmonizing your space, your mind and emotions gets clearer as well and you might even realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and opt for a new start.